Magazine article American Libraries

Tax Reform Has Florida Bracing for Major Cuts

Magazine article American Libraries

Tax Reform Has Florida Bracing for Major Cuts

Article excerpt

A property-tax rollback passed by the Florida legislature in June is sending libraries scrambling to prepare for significant cuts, but even worse consequences loom if voters approve a constitutional amendment on the January ballot.

The measure, which goes into effect at the start of the next fiscal year on October 1, is a tax cut and cap that requires cities and counties to roll back their annual tax rates to 2006-07 levels, as well as mandating additional cuts. However, governing bodies are permitted to override the measure with a two-thirds supermajority vote.

Press reports indicate that the prospect of funding cuts has prompted library systems to raise the likelihood of reducing operating hours, closing on Sundays, trimming outreach services and programming, and charging residents for library cards. Washington County commissioners have already placed a hiring freeze on the library in response to the tax rollback and operating hours have been reduced, Panama City's NBC affiliate WJHG-TV reported July 31. …

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